Headless eCommerce - The increasingly important role of front end development

Headless eCommerce - The increasingly important role of front end development

In recent years, we’ve seen the rapid diversification of internet connected devices able to run web browsers. At the same time the way programmes and content are delivered and accessed have also changed with web apps,  Single Page Applications (SPA) and Progressive Web Apps (PWA) becoming more prevalent.  

The one thing driving these changes is consumer demand for convenience and a seamless User Experience (UX). Users expect web applications to be snappy and responsive, but at the same time engaging and interactive. With this has come advancements in front end technology which help to provide these lightning fast reaction times, and which will mean that increasingly, as they become widely adopted, the key differentiator of stand out websites will be design.  

This poses challenges for eCommerce development, and the way in which front end development teams interact with back end and other functions to achieve stability and consistency across projects. Tommy Hilfiger’s UK site is a great example of progressive UX, offering exceptional load times, delivered through the Vue framework. This forward thinking storefront technology enables retailers to implement any frontend feature imaginable, with seamless migration to another backend if needed.

Other considerations for merchants and retailers are third party integrations. We’re increasingly being asked by our clients to integrate with existing systems, whether they are an ERP, PIM, marketing tools such as Algolia search or even an email client like Mailchimp. All of these technologies have to be considered in the development process, meaning webpages cannot be built in isolation, but need to be considered as part of the wider ecosystem. So what does this mean for eCommerce webstore development?

The rise of headless eCommerce, or decoupling of the store front from the business logic, operational side of the site, in response to these changes, is offering a number of benefits to both online merchants and developers. Rapid changes can be made to front end content without disrupting company operations, and more interestingly for front end developers, it allows innovation without fear and without constraint. Early adopters are quickly realising the benefits of using flexible front end technologies such as React.js to future proof their business, decrease their time to market and increase their edge on competitors.

At 9xb, we’re excited to be able to expand our front end skill set, bringing front end developers in early in the development process, and to be producing innovative and bespoke sites for our customers that deliver a great user experience. In turn, our clients are able to rapidly adapt to changes in user expectations, enhancing experiences through add-on micro services at the back end and making reactive content changes at the front, without impacting the entire infrastructure.

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